HERMAN, Neb. —
A Washington County District Court judge dismissed felony charges against a Herman business owner and her employee. This is the third time a judge has dismissed the case against Deborah Archer, 52, and Cory Russell, 29.
“It’s been dismissed each time, so I don’t understand why they keep going after it,” Archer said.
The judge made the ruling last week. Archer, Russell, Ed Hossner and Donna Johnson were first arrested in December 2017.
Johnson and her husband, Hossner, sold the storefront on Herman’s Main Street six months earlier.
“We were pretty much the only ones in the whole county to have it, so everyone was coming here to get it,” Archer said.
Archer started selling products containing cannabidiol in June of 2017. It’s an organic product many use for health and wellness. There is not enough THC to make people high.
“In November, one of the undercover officers came in and made a purchase, which I would have sold it to him if he was in uniform,” she said.
The next month, deputies arrested Archer, Hossner, Johnson and Russell. Chargers were dropped against Hossner and Johnson since they were not linked to the business. Russell had been an employee since the store opened.
“I open the door and there are four officers in full tactical uniform and everything and I’m just like,’Whoa!'” said Russell.
Deputies raided Archer’s store and seized her inventory, computer and cash register. She said they have been treating her like a drug dealer. Archer said she has never been in trouble with the law.
A judge dismissed the case against Archer and Russell. The Washington County attorney immediately refiled. Charges were dropped again and refiled.
“They’re coming after us a third time. I’m like, ‘What? Why?’ We did nothing wrong. We did nothing illegal,” Russell said.
There’s a cannabidiol conundrum. Some, not all, county attorneys in the state are following a memo put out by Nebraska’s attorney general. Doug Peterson calls cannabidiol a controlled substance and illegal.
This year, lawmakers passed the Nebraska Hemp Act, saying products containing less than .3 percent of THC are legal.
Last week, for a third time, a judge dismissed the charges again.
“We were closed one day, basically because we were in jail and couldn’t open store. As soon as we got out, we reopened everything,” said Archer.
The Washington County Attorney’s office sent us this statement:
We are aware of the District Court’s ruling issued July 26, 2019. As this order did not offer any reasoning or guidance from the Court, the County Attorney’s Office is appealing the District Court’s ruling in an effort to understand the court’s opinion.
It is important for not only this office to understand the reasoning of the court, but also for the Defendants in the case. It should be noted that a District Court may have various reasons for rulings of this nature. Nothing in the Court’s ruling should be interpreted as “legalizing” CBDs as that would be outside of this Court’s authority.
This being the case, the Washington County Attorney’s Office will continue to abide by the Nebraska Attorney General’s opinion that CBDs are illegal in the State of Nebraska. This will be the policy, until such time as this office is provided further guidance by the Courts or further action by the Nebraska Legislature.
We reached out to Doug Peterson for clarification and we did not hear back from his office.
Original Article Courtesy of KETV